Hurricane Matthew left 19 city-owned vehicles beyond repair, including a fire truck. Additionally, three Virginia Beach volunteer rescue squad ambulances sustained water damage and need to be replaced.
Emergency Medical Services Chief Ed Brazle briefed city council at its meeting Tuesday on this topic. He recommended the city provide $249,000 in grants to help replace the three ambulances.
“What we’re talking about here today is one Davis Corner rescue squad and two Kempsville [rescue squad] ambulances,” Brazle said. “They operated in excessively high water that got into patient compartments. They’re are viewed beyond economical repair.”
Brazle said the ambulances were looked at by outside experts and the water intrusion makes them unsuitable to be used again after they are removed from service.
The cost to replace each ambulance is about $205,000 according to Brazle.
“This is at the low end of the value of some of the ambulances we buy out there,” Brazle said.
The Kempsville rescue squad’s assets’ cash value came to $55,600 and Davis Corner’s ambulance had less mileage, amounting to $37,000. Brazle said these ambulances had significant active service life remaining.
Brazle also said the insurance estimates and scraps would only cover about 15 to 30 percent of the replacement cost for each ambulance.
“The squads have assets and resources, but neither one is in position, with their budget, to replace these vehicles so far out of their cycle,” Brazle said. “They did go to the Virginia Office of EMS for emergency grant funds, and I’m very happy to say a large portion of the monies were paid for by office of EMS.”
Brazle said once the city comes forth with an amount it is willing to cover, rescue squads can access that money. The state will cover $157,685 for the Davis Corner ambulance and $134,866 for the Kempsville ambulances.
Brazle recommended the city pay the difference, which amounts to $44,000 for Davis Corner and $205,000 for Kempsville.
City Manager Dave Hansen said the city has sufficient funds remaining within the $1.2 million appropriation city council passed to replace damaged city vehicles during the hurricane.
That money will be reallocated, which could result in reimbursement from the federal government, Hansen said.
“Does anyone object to this? Let’s get it done,” Mayor Will Sessoms said in response to Brazle’s recommendation.